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The Habsburg Monarchy or Austrian monarchy, often called simply Austria, is the name given to the territories ruled by the Austrian branch of the House of Habsburg, and then by the successor House of Habsburg-Lorraine, between 1526 and 1867/1918. The capital was normally at Vienna. The monarchy between 1867 - 1918 is usually referred to as Austria-Hungary.
The monarchy developed from the Habsburg Hereditary Lands (mostly modern Austria and Slovenia), which the Habsburgs had accumulated since 1278. The Habsburg Monarchy grew to European prominance in 1526, when Archduke Ferdinand of Austria, the younger brother of Emperor Charles V, was elected King of Bohemia and Hungary following the death of Louis II, the King of those two countries, in battle against the Turks at Mohacs.
Names of the territory that (with some exceptions) finally became Austria-Hungary:
- Habsburg monarchy or Austrian monarchy (1526 – 1867) : This was an inofficial, but very frequent name - even at that time. The entity had no official name. Note that technically the term Habsburg monarchy can also refer to the period 1276-1918 when the Habsburgs ruled in the monarchy centered in present-day Austria, and Austrian monarchy can refer to the monarchy centered in present-day Austria 1156 – 1867, but both terms are usually not used this way.
- Austrian Empire (1804 – 1867): This was the official name. Note that the German version is "Kaisertum Österreich", i.e. the English translation empire refers to a territory ruled by an emperor, not just to a "widespreading dominion".
- Austria-Hungary or Austro-Hungarian Empire (1867 – 1918): This was the official name. An inofficial popular name was the Danubian Monarchy (in German: Donaumonarchie).
- crownlands or crown-lands (in German Kronländer) (1849 – 1918): This is the name of all the individual parts of the Austrian Empire (since 1849) and then of Austria-Hungary. The Kingdom of Hungary (more exactly the Lands of the Hungarian crown) was not considered a "crownland" anymore since the establishment of Austria-Hungary 1867, in other words the "crownlands" became identical with what was called the Kingdoms and Lands represented in the Imperial Council ("die im Reichsrate vertretenen Königreiche und Länder").
Names of some smaller territories:
- Austrian lands (? – 1918): These is the unofficial name of the part of the Austrian monarchy that ended up constituting the present-day Austria (except Burgenland and most of the time also except Salzburg).
- Hereditary Lands (in German Erblande or Erbländer) or German Hereditary Lands (in the Austrian monarchy) or Austrian Hereditary Lands (Middle Ages – 1849/1918): In a narrower sense these were the "original" Habsburg Austrian territories, i.e. basically the Austrian lands and Carniola (not Galicia, Italian territories or the Austrian Netherlands). In a wider sense the Lands of the Bohemian Crown were also included in the Hereditary Lands. The term was replaced by the term crownlands (see above) in the 1849 March Constitution, but it was also used afterwards.
Although the territories ruled by the branch changed over the centuries, but the core always consisted of three blocs:
- The Hereditary Lands, which covered most of the modern states of Austria and Slovenia, as well as territories in northeastern Italy and (before 1797) southwestern Germany. To these were added in 1779 the Inn Quarter of Bavaria; and in 1803 the Bishoprics of Trent and Brixen . The Napoleonic Wars caused disruptions where many parts of the Hereditary lands were lost, but all these, along with the former Archbishopric of Salzburg, which had previously been temporarily annexed between 1805 and 1809, were recovered at the peace in 1815. The Hereditary provinces included:
- Upper Austria
- Lower Austria
- The Adriatic port of Trieste
- Istria (although much of Istria was Venetian territory until 1797)
- These lands (3-8) were often grouped together as Inner Austria
- The Tirol (although the Bishoprics of Trent and Brixen dominated what would become the South Tirol before 1803)
- The Vorarlberg (actually a collection of provinces, only united in the nineteenth century)
- The Vorlande, a group of territories in southwestern Germany lost in 1797 (although the Alsatian territories which had formed a part of it had been lost as early as 1648)
- Vorarlberg and the Vorlande were often grouped together as Further Austria and mostly ruled jointly with Tirol.
- Salzburg (only after 1805)
- The Lands of the Bohemian Crown - initially consisting of the four provinces of Bohemia, Moravia, Silesia, and Lusatia. Lusatia was ceded to Saxony in 1620, while most of Silesia was conquered by Prussia in 1740-1742.
- The Kingdom of Hungary – prior to 1699, the Kingdom of Hungary, called Royal Hungary at that time, lost some two thirds of its territory to the Ottoman Empire and its vassals the Princes of Transylvania, while the Habsburgs were restricted to the western and northern fringes of the former kingdom, but after that date almost the whole former kingdom came under Austrian rule, with the rest being picked up in 1718. The Kingdom of Hungary, at its fullest extent, included modern Hungary and Slovakia, most of Croatia, the Vojvodina in what is now Serbia, Transylvania in what is now Romania, and Carpathian Ruthenia, a small trans-Carpathian region now in Ukraine. Between 1718 and 1739, various other Balkan territories, including the area around Belgrade and parts of western Wallachia, were also attached, but were lost following an unsuccessful war with Turkey in 1739. Much of the area bordering the Ottoman Empire was separated out from Hungarian administration and formed into the Military Frontier, which was ruled directly from Vienna.
Over the course of its history, other lands were, at times, under Austrian Habsburg rule:
- The Austrian Netherlands, consisting of most of modern Belgium and Luxembourg (1713-1792)
- The Duchy of Milan, in Lombardy (1713-1797)
- The Kingdom of Naples (1713-1735)
- The Kingdom of Sardinia (1713-1720)
- The Kingdom of Sicily (1720-1735)
- The Duchy of Parma (1735-1748)
- The Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, in modern Poland (1772-1918)
- The Bukovina (1774-1918)
- "Western Galicia ," the Polish lands, including Cracow, taken in the Third Partition (1795-1809)
- Venetia (1797-1805, 1814-1866)
- Dalmatia (1797-1805, 1814-1918)
- Lombardy (1814-1859)
- Cracow, which was incorporated into Galicia (1846-1918)
- Vojvodina of Serbia and Tamis Banat (1849-1860)
- Bosnia and Herzegovina (1908-1918)
The various Habsburg possessions never really formed a single country - each province was governed according to its own particular customs. Until the mid 17th century, all of the provinces were not even necessarily ruled by the same person - junior members of the family often ruled portions of the Hereditary Lands as private apanages. Serious attempts at centralization began under Maria Theresa and especially her son Joseph II in the mid to late 18th century, but many of these were abandoned following large scale resistance to Joseph's more radical reform attempts, although a more cautious policy of centralization continued during the revolutionary period and the long Metternichian period which followed.
An even greater attempt at centralization began in 1849 following the suppression of the various revolutions of 1848. For the first time, ministers tried to transform the monarchy into a centralized bureaucratic state ruled from Vienna. The Kingdom of Hungary, in particular, ceased to exist as a separate entity, being divided into a series of districts. Following the Habsburg defeats in the Wars of 1859 and 1866, this policy was abandoned, and after several years of experimentation in the early 1860s, the famous Ausgleich, or Compromise, of 1867 was arrived at, by which the so-called Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary was set up. In this system, the Kingdom of Hungary was given sovereignty and a parliament, with only a personal union and a joint foreign and military policy connecting it to the other Habsburg lands. Although the non-Hungarian Habsburg lands, often, but erroneously, referred to as "Austria," received their own central parliament (the Reichsrat, or Imperial Council) and ministries, as their official name - the Kingdoms and Lands Represented in the Imperial Council - shows that they remained something less than a genuine unitary state. When Bosnia and Herzegovina were annexed (after a long period of occupation and administration), they were not incorporated into either half of the monarchy. Instead, they were governed by the joint ministry of finance.
Austria-Hungary collapsed as a result of unsolved ethnic problems and of its defeat in World War I. In the peace settlement that followed, significant territories were ceded to Romania and Italy, new republics of Austria (the German-Austrian territories of the Hereditary lands) and Hungary (the Magyar core of the old kingdom) were created, and the remainder of the monarchy's territory was shared out among the new states of Poland, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia.
Habsburg territories outside the Habsburg Monarchy
The Habsburg monarchy should not be confused with various other territories ruled at different times by members of the Habsburg dynasty. The senior Spanish line of the Habsburgs ruled over Spain and various other territories from 1516 until it became extinct in 1700. A junior line ruled over Tuscany between 1765 and 1801, and again from 1814 to 1859. While exiled from Tuscany, this line ruled at Salzburg from 1803 to 1805, and in Würzburg from 1805 to 1814. Another line ruled the Vörlande from 1803 to 1805, and Modena from 1814 to 1859, while Empress Marie Louise, Napoleon's second wife and the daughter of Austrian Emperor Francis, ruled over the Duchy of Parma between 1814 and 1847.
For a historical account, see:
- History of Austria in the Habsburg Monarchy
- History of Hungary under the Habsburg Monarchy
- Croatia in the Habsburg Empire
- Czech lands: 1526-1648, Czech lands: 1648-1867 and Czech lands: 1867-1918.
- History of Slovakia within the Habsburg Monarchy
Rulers of the Habsburg Monarchy, 1526-1918
- Ferdinand I 1526-1564
- Maximilian II 1564-1576
- Rudolf II 1576-1612
- Matthias 1612-1619
- Ferdinand II 1619-1637
- Ferdinand III 1637-1657
- Leopold I 1657-1705
- Joseph I 1705-1711
- Charles VI 1711-1740
- Maria Theresa 1740-1780
- Joseph II 1780-1790
- Leopold II 1790-1792
- Francis II 1792-1835 (became Emperor Francis I of Austria in 1804, at which point numbering starts anew)
- Ferdinand I 1835-1848
- Francis Joseph I 1848-1916
- Charles I 1916-1918
- List of rulers of Austria
- History of the Balkans
- histories of countries that finally arose from Austria-Hungary:History of Austria, History of the Czech Republic, History of Croatia, History of Hungary, History of Italy, History of Poland, History of Romania, History of Serbia and Montenegro, History of Slovakia, History of Slovenia
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